18 September, 2011
Review: New York to Dallas by J.D. Robb
For me, Eve's backstory has gone to characterization. While I have been interested in aspects of it, I have not felt a compelling need for answers. Having the answers doesn't fundamentally change what I enjoy about the books. Still, taking Eve to Dallas was a smart choice. As the series has grown, so have the lives Eve becomes involved in. Sometimes I feel characters are getting shoehorned into a story they don't belong in, just so they can make an appearance. Putting Eve in Dallas relieved author and reader of that mental checklist. (Although almost the entire cast is at least name checked.) I agree that NYTD would be a reasonable place to tie off the character. Roberts works several years ahead of publication, so I imagine her editors know if she's done with Eve. My money says no. I think she was done with Eve's past, with having that shoe waiting to drop.
There is a character introduced fairly early in NYTD who made me sigh. I knew where we were going before we left the station. While the execution was well done, it's not the path I would have liked to see taken. The world is really not as small as it seems in NYTD. (That's been an issue for me in the past as well, there are only so many overlapping circles I find reasonable.) The core plot of NYTD I quite liked - a criminal Eve put away in her youth returns for a rematch in the prime of her career. He's lost his edge, she's gained experience, but he has the advantage of caring less about the lives in jeopardy. (One thing I really adore about the In Death series would be that it never fetishizes or eroticizes the psychopaths.) Parts of the story reminded me of details from the Jaycee Duggard story, but not in a Lifted From The Headlines way. Overall, it's a solid Eve Dallas tale, and one I think will not disappoint fans of the series.
On the downside, NYTD has a 'cofftea' moment. Eve picks up several new shorthand slang words, including one for analysis. I was not the first to notice this, it fairly jumps off the page. (If the author wasn't Nora Roberts it would be a meme by now. I have never even considered doing such a thing to my laundry.) My new catchphrase for the year is going to be a quote lifted directly from the pages of NYTD. I just can't say it in front of any kids. Or at the laundromat. Possibly even in public (although we both know I will). Yet these sentences made it through all the eyes that stand between a prepublication certified bestseller and your hands. Goes to show.